Marie-Eve Dicaire's patience will be rewarded when she returns to the ring on March 5 in Flint, Michigan, for her unification fight against Claressa Shields.
Dicaire is overjoyed at the contest finally taking place, after it was postponed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues outside of her control.
The contest, which is headlining a pay-per-view event, will be a full division unification with the WBC, IBF, WBO, WBA junior middleweight titles on the line.
This opportunity, Dicaire views it as the big reward for a lifetime of effort - and it also came with a lot of stress as she spent an entire year on a roller coaster linked to the multiple cancellations and postponements of the event.
"I think it was the media [coverage] that made me realize that this was going to happen for real this time. Because even when the contract was signed, even when [my promoter] Yvon [Michel] told me it would be announced - my team and I couldn't believe it anymore," Dicaire said to Radio Canada.
"I think I really learned to trust the process. I am an extremely impatient girl to wait for things to happen. But there comes a time when you have no choice but to trust the process. You have no choice but to go at the start of training camp when it's time. You have no choice but to take vacations when it's time.
"Above all, what I realized, and I know it from the start, is that I have an extraordinary team. They were all the more by my side and I felt all their support during the year. I really realized how lucky I was to have this."
The fight will take place in Shields' backyard, but it will also be held behind closed doors - which means there won't be any concern regarding a hostile crowd.
"It is certain that there will be no hostility factor. On the other hand, as a boxer, the crowd energizes us, makes us want to go further. In this case, it will be necessary to find motivations which are inside of myself. Once again, it's a great challenge. I don't see that as a problem," Dicaire said.
"For me, it is important, from fight to fight, to continue to improve. It's important to always offer a new version of myself, to work on my shortcomings, to improve my qualities. That's what we're betting on. That's what we want to offer, a new Marie-Eve, because it's a Marie-Eve who has to face Claressa Shields and not Ogleidis Suarez.
"In terms of preparation, what we did for this fight is very different from what we did in the past. Of course, the speed was increased a lot. In the past, we took it for granted that I was already faster than all my opponents. We didn't necessarily need to work [on speed in those situations]. In this case, we know that Claressa Shields is very fast. She has very fast hands.
"We also bet on a slightly different style of boxing because the previous opponents were opponents who were rushing, who charged on me. Claressa Shields does not have that reputation. Of course, we are ready for any eventuality, but we have adjusted a few things to be really ready for what we will have ahead of us on March 5th."
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